A couple of days ago, I wrote a piece about military parades after learning that President Trump was considering holding one in Washington DC. I appreciate the comments via Facebook and also from those of you with whom I have email contact. In my missive, I stressed my true concerns about our military, as that is where our focus should be.
And I can share with you a timely example of just what I was articulating with Obama-era social engineering of our force.
As reported by the Marine Corps Times, “In a slight change to the grueling initial stage of the 13-week Infantry Officer Course, Marines will no longer be required to pass the Combat Endurance Test (CET) to move on. The Corps has come under criticism for what some have claimed to be unnecessarily high standards to graduate from the course.
“Over the past 40 years, the Marine Corps has made multiple modifications to Infantry Officer Course (IOC) program of instruction (POI) to reflect the requirements of the operating environment,” Training Command said in a statement to Marine Corps Times. “The quality of the course remains the same.”
The Combat Endurance Test is an intense physical test that assesses a Marine’s endurance and knowledge gained from The Basic School, and is used as a tool to evaluate a Marine’s potential success in the infantry course. Previously it was scored as a simple pass or fail, but now the test will no longer be used to weed Marines out. The officers will continue to take a Combat Evaluation Test, but their score will be just one of many components of the course considered for a student’s overall evaluation.
The changes were made in November to better reflect requirements of Marine infantry officers as outlined in the Infantry Training and Readiness Manual and actual operating force requirements, according to officials at Training Command. “As a result, the Combat Endurance Test (CET) reverted back to its original intent, prior to 2012, as an assessment tool to measure the retention of knowledge, skills and fitness achieved at the Basic Officer Course (BOC).” Training Command said in a statement.”
A slight change? I’ve been following responses from many a retired Marine combat infantryman on a military email list. This isn’t a slight change, and there’s no way you can sell these men the line about “this has nothing to do with the 2013 mandated General Dempsey rule on full integration of females into all combat duty billets.”
Now, let me be clear: this is not about women in combat. The first recorded American woman to serve in combat was Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, fondly known as “Molly Pitcher” in the annals of U.S. field artillery lore. It was believed that Molly Pitcher was there at the Battle of Monmouth serving water to Soldiers manning the gun line. Supposedly, Molly’s husband fell wounded, and without hesitation, she stepped up to take a position on the firing line of artillery. Today, distinguished spouses of artillerymen — I guess I can still say that — are awarded the Molly Pitcher Award. My wife Angela was awarded hers in November 1997 at Ft. Bragg NC.
To this day, especially with the non-linear battlefield, anyone deployed into a combat zone, is in combat, as the enemy targets and attacks at will. However, what the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Obama administration ordered was that combat duty assignments (billets) and units be opened up to females. And General Dempsey famously claimed that standards would not be changed or altered…that is in dispute.
This edict came down just two days ago, when I wrote my piece about not supporting a military parade. This is a far more pressing issue, to end the insidious Obama-era policies that affect our military readiness. If anything, we need tougher standards, not “altered” one. Now, common sense demands I ask: why was the CET incorporated in the first place as pass/fail? There was obviously a reason why this was a critical part of entry into the Marine Infantry Officer Course (IOC). And when did we in the military become concerned about criticisms regarding high standards? It’s in training where sweat saves blood…that was our 18th Airborne Brigade motto when I was at Ft. Bragg.
That’s why standards are high. That’s why we’re sadly seeing more — four times more — deaths in training incidents rather than in combat engagements over the last year. It’s because we’ve cut our troop levels, reduced training certifications, and harmfully cut back maintenance capacity. Troops like high standards because that’s part of being elite! There’s a certain swagger in being a Marine Infantry Officer, just like being a Ranger, a Green Beret, a Navy SEAL, Delta Force, Marine Force Recon, and Air Force PJ.
The standards are high because we ask them to do more, and in the most tough and difficult situations. As I’ve stated before, our military doesn’t exist to be reflective of civilian culture or society. We want a military that’s a cut above, and what we seek out are those who can make a greater standard. This ain’t about “participation trophies.”
Mr. President, you are the commander-in-chief, get this under control. We don’t need parades. We need the few, the proud, the U.S. Marines to be those doggone Devil Dogs that instilled fear in the Germans in Belleau Woods where they earned that moniker — not social engineering experiments.
And sir, let no civilian circuit court judge tell you what you can or cannot do when it comes to Armed Forces personnel policy. Those same folks remained silent as Obama imposed his poisonous ideological agenda on our military. You, Mr. President, were elected to stop this nonsense…so why are we still reading about it?
[Learn more about Allen West’s vision for this nation in his book Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom]